At the end of a mammoth season featuring highs and lows on the pitch and challenging circumstances off it, Petr Cech uses his final column of the campaign to reflect on our achievements and togetherness, as well as pay tribute to the influence of a departing colleague…
We will definitely look back on this season as one where a lot of things happened. Obviously we will look back at the success of winning the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup, the latter which has never been won in our history, so it’s the first time we completed the set of trophies.
This is really something to be proud of and the team put in a huge effort during the year to achieve this. These trophies give us a great sense of satisfaction and were a huge positive in our season.
We also had two domestic finals in the season and actually we didn’t lose either of them. We ended up with a penalty shoot-out twice against Liverpool and we were on the wrong side of those shoot-outs, which is obviously unfortunate and disappointing.
At the same time, we reached two finals and on the way we had some great performances, which just showed that the team is very competitive and aims to win trophies. Sometimes we deserved a bit better than losing the finals but that’s football and we have to accept it.
Dealing with adversity
I have to say that during the season there were many challenges we and the team had to go through. At the beginning, our pre-season was very modified by the late arrivals of the players involved in the Euros. Of course, that also opened doors for players like Trevoh Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, people who came back from loans and actually could spend more time with the men's first team.
In the end it paid off for them and Malang Sarr as well - they stayed part of the first team which was great for them. We arrived in December when the team was flying but then we got hammered by Covid-19. At one point, we didn’t really have players and of course we had to overcome even the fact that while others had their games moved and didn’t play, we had to play all of them.
That was the part of the season we unfortunately dropped points, during that time with the Covid issues. We drew four games and that was the difference which opened the gap between us and Liverpool and Manchester City, and we never closed that gap. After the international break in March, we had some inconsistent results as well and everything took on a completely different level in terms of the ownership situation.
Everybody deserves huge credit for how the club managed to go through with the togetherness and determination to make sure that we can do it for the fans, for everybody involved and for the people in the club, that we can do as much as we can do to stay on the winning side and overcome a period with a huge uncertainty.
That was something we all learned a huge lesson from but then we finished strong in third place in the league. We always aim to win but sometimes you have to take what it is and we qualified for the Champions League again next season.
Let’s also not forget that in the quarter-finals against Real Madrid, we were a couple of minutes away from going through. Unfortunately that game slipped a little bit away but it was a great performance and maybe we were a bit unlucky.
Overall, this has been a season that everybody will look back on as a significant one in the history of the club, for football reasons adding the two trophies, and also as a huge milestone in terms of changing the ownership.
We have to congratulate Christophe on the fantastic and successful career he had with us. He was a huge part of the success of the goalkeeping team, not only coaching the first team but also helping to install the goalkeeping philosophy and the work we’ve done with the loans department and our young goalkeepers.
Goalkeeping is just his life, he’s very passionate and it was great to have worked with him. He came in November 2007 from Rennes where I had worked with him and it was quite nice to be able to see him blending in and become a part of the success of this team.
We have to thank him for all his contribution and we wish him the best whatever his new chapter will bring and wherever he goes. Goalkeeping will always be the subject he’s most enthusiastic about and I’m sure he will remain close to that.
Ready for the restart
One season is finished but the work never stops and we hope that we can prepare as best as we can for the next coming season. The players really need to rest because they played so many games and they will need to switch off.
After the international break, they will need some time off to regroup, refresh and recover, then hopefully next season we’ll be back competing for all the trophies and we can turn those finals into medals.
We want to compete as best as we can in the Premier League and all the other competitions. It’s always exciting to look forward to a new season because you have everything to play for and we need to be ready.